By Adam I. W. Schwartzman

“Brian Holekamp” is a name familiar to many on the Dartmouth College campus. Holekamp, a member of the class of 2012, is the butt of many jokes and his name is frequently mentioned on the Dartmouth-specific anonymous online forum, Bored@Baker.

However, the joke may be on the community at large, with Holekamp, a member of Phi Delta Alpha and ROTC as well as the future president of men’s club lacrosse, now one of two candidates running for Vice President of the Student Assembly.

After Holekamp gave the Daily D a hilariously terse “no comment” on all election-related matters, The Dartmouth Review seized the opportunity to pick his brain on some issues pertinent to the admittedly inconsequential role of Student Assembly Vice President. He shared with us, among other things, his views on the new SEMP policy, Student Assembly and the current election, alcohol abuse, and sexual assault.

The Dartmouth Review: Do you consider yourself a “meme”?

Brian Holekamp: Apparently [laughs]. A lot of people have heard my name from various sources, none of it started by me.

TDR: Will that give you any assistance when it comes to communicating with the student body?

BH: Probably. A lot of people come up to talk to me—some I know, some I don’t know. I would think that if anybody had any issues they’d be able to come talk to me.

TDR: What is your image on campus?

BH: I don’t know. I have no idea. I have no idea what my image is on campus.

TDR: Fair enough. What got you interested in running for VP?

BH: I wanted to get involved in the decision making process of the College. Ben Ludlow and I were going to run in the beginning, but Ludlow got a position on the [Inter-fraternity Council] and decided that he didn’t want to run for President. So I continued in running for Vice President.

I think it’s fair to have a somewhat Greek-minded person on the council because I know that a lot of the campus supports the Greek system. I know that there’s a significant portion that isn’t involved but a majority is involved, so having someone there who understands that perspective is something that we definitely want. 

TDR: So you consider yourself generally supportive of fraternities and sororities?

BH: Of course—it’s a great resource. Especially coming from Phi Delt, we have so many alumni and they come back all the time.

And of course, the Greek system keeps the alumni tied down to the College. If you just go to school here and leave, that’s fine. But if you become a part of an organization, it makes you love your house and it makes you love the College. All the good experiences you have in your house are immediately tied over to the College as well.

TDR: How’s the process been so far?

BH: Painless. I got one hundred signatures within five hours.

TDR: Have you been in contact with other candidates?

BH: Yeah, I’ve talked to Will Hix and Max Yoeli. Hix apparently isn’t being able to run. I know he’s contesting that.

TDR: How do you feel about that ruling?

BH: I don’t think it’s fair that if someone’s been suspended then they’re completely disallowed from being in the decision making process of student assembly. Why not let that person be a part of the school? They may have done something wrong, but it could have been an isolated incident.

I don’t think that should keep someone from participating in the Student Assembly. It’s not like they’re bad kids. If they were, they wouldn’t be running for Student Assembly, anyways.

TDR: Have you considered endorsing anyone?

BH: No, I’m not going to support anyone. People have asked me to run on a ticket with them. I didn’t want to because I want people to decide who they want to be President—I don’t want to throw my weight behind someone and influence that. Other people will endorse these candidates; I’m just trying to work well with whoever is elected.

TDR: Let’s talk about you. Why are you qualified for the position?

BH: I really feel like I understand what’s going on [around] campus and how the students feel about it. Of course there’s always going to be different opinions about everything, but generally I know what’s happening.

As Vice President, I would monitor student appointments to committees so, to get some people who represent the student body’s opinion as a whole would be better than those who are interested in something specific, but don’t have ideas that are consistent with the rest of the student body. I would actually prefer that those people didn’t sit on these councils. Enough of those people will enact policies that no one will like. That’s happened in the past. I don’t know if students had any say in this whole FoCo thing, but that has the potential to be a disaster.

TDR: What are your thoughts on the new SEMP policy and Green Team?

BH: I think that Green Team is great. It’s awesome—the idea that we have people making sure everyone isn’t sitting around getting absolutely wasted- that’s not the point of alcohol. That’s my dad’s opinion, anyway.

[On the new SEMP policy:] It’s helpful. Kegs are slower at serving people beer, which is okay. You can have multiple taps at one time, which is great. It probably encourages less pong during big parties because that’s harder to do. If you’re having a huge party, people shouldn’t be getting blacked out all the time.

My dad always comes back up here and talks about how the old style of pong, speed pong, is really better because it’s a skill game, it’s a lot of fun, and you don’t just get wasted playing it. It doesn’t encourage people to drink massive amounts of beer and drink into oblivion.

Back to the SEMP policy, being able to register on the fly is a good idea. I think it has an overall positive influence on the student body. It reduces the amount of alcohol consumed and reduces the amount of cans, which is environmentally friendly. It produces less trash and maybe fraternities won’t be as messy as they usually are.

Generally, the policy will have a positive outcome. I don’t really understand why we have to register closed events, though. I think we should have a little more freedom there.

TDR: Do you think alcohol abuse is a serious issue on this campus?

BH: Of course–people get hammered. Everyone knows that if you have too much to drink you lose your judgment. Only bad things can stem from that. My parents always told me in high school, “nothing good happens after twelve o’clock.” People drink themselves silly and do not make good decisions.

TDR: How about sexual assault?

BH: Sexual assault stems from alcohol. Alcohol encourages sexual assault two ways: girls might have their judgment impaired and guys getting hammered can make them more aggressive and they may not catch the signs that the girls they’re with may be too drunk and may not want to do whatever they’re doing. It works both ways, but it all stems from alcohol.

TDR: Do you think SA should be involved in combating these issues?

BH: Students can give opinions that are realistic. If the college has a decision they make and run by the students, then SA should be involved in that.

I think that student opinion should always be heard and the college should listen to it, but I don’t think that students should be involved in the actual making of the policy. The college has its goals and I don’t think they’re the same as the students’ with regards to alcohol.

TDR: Do you think that SA should have an increased role on campus?

BH:  I’m always in favor of giving students more power to govern themselves and to enact change themselves. I think that we’re realistic and it would be good for us to not feel like we always have the administration looking over our shoulder. If you give money to those people who it’s going to benefit, they’ll know how they want to use it and what will be popular. It decreases the amount of money and effort spent on things that won’t be liked or received well. Of course, SA should be given more power and maybe even expanded—more opinions, more views are always good.